Micro Wind Turbine

Mark asks…

Energy harvesting materials?

I need info for my chem assignment and my teacher has banned wikipedia so am kinda lost…could someone please help me..it’s realLy urgent!

Windmill Farms answers:

Piezoelectric crystals or fibers generate a small voltage whenever they are mechanically deformed. Vibration from engines can stimulate piezoelectric materials, as can the heel of a shoe.
Some wristwatches are already powered by kinetic energy (called kinetic watches), in this case movement of the arm. The arm movement causes the magnet in the electromagnetic generator to move. The motion provides a rate of change of flux, which results in some induced emf on the coils. The concept is simply related to Faraday’s Law.
Thermoelectric generators (TEGs) consist of the junction of two dissimilar materials and the presence of a thermal gradient. Large voltage outputs are possible by connecting many junctions electrically in series and thermally in parallel. Typical performance is 100-200 uV/degreeC per junction. These can be utilized to capture mW of energy from industrial equipment, structures, and even the human body. They are typically coupled with heat sinks to improve temperature gradient.
Micro wind turbine are used to harvest wind energy readily available in the environment in the form of kinetic energy to power the low power electronic devices such as wireless sensor nodes. When air flows across the blades of the turbine, a net pressure difference is developed between the wind speeds above and below the blades. This will result in a lift force generated which in turn rotate the blades. This is known as the aerodynamic effect.
Special antennae can collect energy from stray radio waves or theoretically even light (EM radiation

Lisa asks…

i would like to go green for my heating what is the most efficient system to go for. ie ground source , solar?

i would like some kind of system that provides 24/7 realy so can be self sufficient

Windmill Farms answers:

Go for a hybrid system. Ground-source heat pump for your space heating and (depending on your location) a solar water heater on top of that.

If you want to up the green ante, you could switch to a green tariff from a credible supplier or, even better, generate your own by putting up solar pv panels, micro wind turbines and other such gizmos. Then you’d be going hardcore green and self-sufficient!!

Some organisations can help you find installers and providers; here in the UK, for example, there’s http://www.lowcarbonbuildings.org.uk/info/installers/find/installerfind

And make sure you check with your local government before you make any big moves on this: they might have a some incentives or grants to help you out with some costs.

It’s really great you’re looking into this – good luck with it!

James asks…

With the pieces listed in the details, what would be the best way to build a wind turbine?

I am looking to create a small wind turbine system that will harness, store, and convert wind energy into useful electricity that will be able to charge a cell phone, and keep several LEDs lit for several hours. I am confident in my design for the turbine, but the electrical components are still confusing me.
Here’s what I have so far:
Dynamo and micro dynamo (DC motors from an old discman)
2 Stepper motors (motors from an old printer)
Floor fan motor (Reads 120V/60Hz)
Coffee grinder motor (Also reads 120V/60Hz)
PC cooling motor
Multimeter
200-Watt power inverter (Output: 115V AV/60Hz Input: 12V DC Modified Sine Wave, more info)
Lithium Ion battery (7,4V 2200 mAh)
Old cell phone and charger for testing
LED panel

What I think I will need:
Voltage rectifier (to make sure the wind turbine charges the battery instead of allowing the battery to turn the turbine)
12V rechargeable battery, ideally under 5 pounds (I think there are scooter batteries that would be able to achieve this)
Proper wires and wire connectors (I don’t know what gauge I need, or what max length I can use. I know the length of wire increases resistance)

My questions for this project are:
How should I configure the generator, fan, and power inverter in a way that will achieve my goals of charging a cell phone and powering a light?
Is there any danger to “overcharging” the rechargeable battery? If so, how would one prevent damage to the electrical system without stopping the turbine from spinning?
If I keep the fan running at X speed for Y amount of time, the LEDs to be lit for how long?
Is there a way to visually show how much power is left in the battery?

Windmill Farms answers:

Suggestion – Break down the the project – Start with how many amps or watts of power you need – That will determine what you will need for powering and for how long. Direct current is easier to work with but cannot travel as far because of the resistance – if it close by and has minimal power requirement, use a heavier gauge wire to reduce resistance. AC will travel farther and carry more voltage and amps – think of how a car’s electrical system works. The turbine needs to have a safe way of reducing the output or you face an overload. – The closer you can get the generator/alternator without the aid of mechanical adaptation the more efficient it will be. A direct connection to the turbine may be ideal and will only need a voltage regulator to adapt to your battery. You can use a appropriate volt meter to keep an eye on your battery status. Good Luck !!

Donna asks…

how to live in a caravan with no electric?

Windmill Farms answers:

Dress warmly – It is cold out there!
Insulate and make a coffee can candle heater. It can be the difference between uncomfortably cold and frostbite or dead. If snow is piling up on the van be careful about the fumes.

Now if you just want to be off grid, then get a good quality solar panel (or a couple of not so good ones), a deep cycle battery, charge controller and a DC fridge. An optional micro wind turbine and an inverter for small AC loads would be nice. This would allow you to keep up with Y!A and listen to music.

Lizzie asks…

Designing a House that’s Eco Friendly?

For my senior project in school I have decided to design an eco-friendly house. Not knowing many different things that can be incorporated into a house to make it efficient, I was wondering if anybody knew any design techniques or any websites that could help point me in the right direction.

Windmill Farms answers:

There are a million things you can do, so I’ll just make a list that you can research:

1. Highly reflective roof (to reduce heat island effect and save energy)
2. Build it near bus lines
3. Use pervious concrete instead of a paved driveway (this allows stormwater to be absorbed back into the ground instead of running off.
4. Use dual flush toilets and high efficiency faucets
5. Xeriscape (an alternative to landscaping)
6. Rainwater collection system (aka rainwater harvesting)
7. Use greywater to irrigate your lawn (greywater is the water that comes from places like your sinks and dish washer).
8. For energy efficiency, make outside walls out of SIPs, straw bales, or ICFs. (sorry…look those up)
9. Use good insulation.
10. Solar panels or micro-wind turbines
11. In the northern hemisphere, have lots of south-facing windows and less north facing windows. This allows you to collect heat from the sun in the winter without losing a lot of heat.
12. Use recycled materials
13. Use local materials that don’t have to be transported far
14. Use rapidly renewable products like bamboo or cork floors
15. Low VOC paint (that means it will be healthier to breathe)

Good luck!

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